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Documentary, Movie Reviews, Pro-life - Abortion, Watch for free

Babies are murdered here

Documentary 2014 / 54 minutes Rating: 8/10 This must-see is first and foremost an encouragement for anyone sitting on the sidelines to get active and start saving the unborn. Where the film gets controversial is in the producers' argument that we must name the sin that is going on behind clinic doors. They want Christians to start using stark, clear terms, like "murder" and "murderer" to clearly and accurately identify these shameful deeds. As one commentator in the film explains early on: We want to go into these neighborhoods – if we go into these neighborhoods – and whisper and invite and plead. And what we need to be doing is shaming this behavior. We need to be showing people what's going on... Friends I've spoken to who are actively involved in pro-life activism have questioned whether using the word "murderer" will shame women, or simply make pro-lifers look hateful, condemning and graceless. That's a good question, and good reason to watch this film. The men and women we see witnessing are carrying large signs that read "Babies are Murdered Here" but there isn't a hint of self-righteousness about them. They are clear, and generally pretty winsome too; truth is being coupled with grace. I find their approach comparable to pro-lifers who make use of large graphic pictures and pair that with soft-spoken words. There are many other ways we can present the Truth, so we don't have to use the words "murderer" or "murderer." But the film makes a convincing case that we must not shy away from these words, or deny their accuracy. According to the conventional pro-life presentation, abortionists are murderers, and the mothers are victims. That's a lie we have to stop repeating. It's a lie that obscures the crime these women are setting out to do. As RC Sproul Jr. explains: It is, perhaps, the most heinous crime I can imagine. It is the most "against nature thing" I can imagine, for a woman who has been gifted by God and called by God to nurture and protect her children to instead turn around and murder that child. It is not just an ordinary murder. When we commit an ordinary murder the other person can fight back. When we commit an ordinary murder it's notthe very fruit of our own bodies. It is a wicked, wicked, vile thing and we need to say so... without diminishing the depth and the scope and the power of the grace of God in Jesus Christ. We need to be clear about the crime we hope to prevent. We want to save these mothers from becoming murderers. We want to save those who have already become murderers. This is why they need the Gospel. And this is why we need to be there sharing it with them. You can watch Babies are Murdered Here for free below or at BabiesAreMurderedHere.com. Since this film was released in 2014, one of the commentators interviewed, RC Sproul Jr., had to resign from his position at Ligonier Ministries, related to two public sins. However, the points he makes in the film stand on their own....

News

Hostility to Unplanned helps get its message out

Unplanned tells the true story of how Abby Johnson, a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic director, changed her mind and now fights for the unborn. Her story hit cinema screens in late March and had already made $18 million, or three times what the film cost to make. But that success has been hard won. Shows abortion isn't just another surgery First, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) announced they were giving Unplanned a restricted or “R rating” which meant the trailer could only run before other R-rated films and anyone under 17 would need to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian to see it. That put a big dent into its potential audience. The rating was a controversial one because the film received no cautions for profanity, nudity, or sex. While the MPAA’s listed caution is for “disturbing/bloody images,” the only such scenes involve abortion. The film’s writers/directors Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman shared with MovieGuide.org how “ironically, the MPAA seems to be indirectly endorsing the pro-life position: namely that abortion is an act of violence.” The Washington Post’s Mark Thiessen echoed that thought: “They would not give it an ‘R’ if it depicted a tonsillectomy.” Can't see, but can do? Solomon and Konzelman went on to detail how the R rating was doubly ironic. “…many teenage women in this country who can legally obtain an actual abortion without parental permission will be prohibited from going to see our film containing simulated images of abortion, without obtaining parental permission.” A different sort of roadblock was used in Canada, where both major movie chains, Cineplex Odeon and Landmark, are refusing to show it. However, there is demand for the film, as was evident in mid-May when the film had a successful private showing in Edmonton for a crowd of almost 3,000. Turning evil to good A third irony? Even as the movie industry seems intent on preventing people from seeing Unplanned, their efforts are aiding in its publicity. Articles have appeared in The New York Times, Glamour, Hollywood Reporter, and Fortune (not to mention countless conservative and Christian sites) and they touch on more than just the controversial rating – many of them raise, and attempt to rebut, what the film says happens behind Planned Parenthood clinic doors. Hollywood may have stopped some people from seeing this film but God is using their efforts to get many more talking and learning about what abortion does to the unborn....

News

Saturday Selections - May 11, 2019

The world is rated R (50 minutes) It is a parental impulse to shelter our children. But is our end goal to give our children comfortable lives? Or do we want children who can take a hit, who'll talk smack with giants (1 Sam 17:45-47), who'll demolish inflated opinions (2 Cor. 10:5), and who'll just generally be itching to get out there and glorify God no matter how many bruises will result? How to say "This is cr-p" in different cultures If you can overlook the crudity in the article's title, it offers an insight useful to "plain-spoken" Dutchmen who are surprised when folks from other cultures find us brusque or rude. Rachel Held Evans (1981-2019) This article has been pulled, so an additional item has been added below. How the government might take your children This is not a clickbait headline. "Imagine if tomorrow, a judge in the most liberal state in the country announced children no longer belong to their parents... From henceforth, says the decree, kids belong to the state. Outraged parents would take to the streets! Angry and refusing to capitulate. "Well, that’s not how it goes. Instead, parental rights are taken a little at a time." McDonald's and the minimum wage Unskilled workers used to always be able to find a job at the fast food giant. But after the US government mandated increased benefits and salaries for McD's workers, the restaurant chain has had to get more out of each employee to pay for those increases. That's meant turning to automation. And that's meant a dramatic drop in the number of McDonald's employees. Christian: If evolution is true, life is meaningless Evolutionist: How dare you sir! Eric Metaxas recently said, "If you actually believe we evolved out of the primordial soup and through happenstance got here, by accident, then our lives literally have no meaning.” In response, a prominent evolutionist said that was a "crock" and that he had hundreds of people giving him responses explaining the meaning and purpose they find in their lives. But a look at those responses makes Metaxas's point. A wonderful example of getting the unborn heard! When New York State passed a law increasing access to late-term abortions the question for pro-lifers was, how can we protest as loudly as possible? Focus on the Family responded by broadcasting a live ultrasound in the world's busiest intersection, Times Square. They called the event "Alive from New York." https://twitter.com/FocusFamily/status/1124798996818612225...

Drama, Movie Reviews

Gosnell: the trial of America's biggest serial killer

Drama 2018 / 93 minutes RATING: 8/10 "Are you going to be the first prosecutor in American history to charge an abortion doctor with murder?" **** There are some great lines in Gosnell. But it was a film I almost didn't watch. I knew it was the true-life story of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist who in 2013 was convicted of killing three babies after they were born. I'd thought it an important story to get out into the public eye, so a few years ago I'd been one of the 30,000 who'd contributed more than $2 million to its Indiegogo campaign. But now, with the DVD in hand, I found myself thinking, "I'm already pro-life so do I really need to sit through a 90-minute film detailing the horrors of abortion?" I'm glad I did, for two reasons. First, the film wasn't the unrelentingly depressing drama I had expected. This felt more like a Law and Order episode, with a mystery that needs solving, and dedicated men and women trying to deliver whatever justice they can. There were some talented people involved in the production, from director Nick Pearcey, who also stars as the defense attorney, to the Daily Wire's Andrew Klaven who had a hand in writing the script. There's no clear star in this ensemble cast, but it might be Dean Cain (Lois and Clark) who is his regular personable self in the role of Detective James Wood, the man who first uncovered what was going on behind the closed doors of Gosnell's clinic. Second, the film is a much better pro-life tool than I ever expected. Gosnell killed thousands so this could have been as hard to watch as Schindler's List (Schindler is in everyone's top 100 list, but has anyone watched it twice?). But by hiding almost all of the gore, and by keeping a quick pace, not lingering in the clinic too long, audiences aren't confronted with the full horror of what Dr. Gosnell did. That makes this a film that can be shared with the undecided; if they can handle network TV, then there's nothing here that'll be too graphic for them. Now, there is a method behind the muted visuals. A gory film would have undecideds walking out or staying away. But the producers didn't intend to pull any punches – they've just been clever enough to lay out their argument in a way that'll be the most likely to reach and sway their intended audience. When Gosnell was being tried, both the prosecutor and the mainstream media emphasized that the case wasn’t about abortion – this was about the murder of already born babies. But in his defense, Gosnell’s attorney shows that what Gosnell did to these babies after birth was not significantly different from what other abortionists were – with the law’s blessing – doing to babies before birth. His reasoning was sound, even if it wasn't enough to get his client off. And seeing an abortion defender make the case that killing an unborn baby differs not a whit from killing a newborn baby is an argument that is sure to hit viewers right between the eyes. Jon Dykstra also blogs on movies at ReelConservative.com....

News

Donald Trump, the pro-life rabble-rouser?

In April the president of the United States made headlines for a movie he didn’t watch, and didn’t comment on. So what was all the fuss about? He let an “anti-abortion” film be shown in his home. In the days leading up to the April 12 screening, mainstream media on both sides of the Atlantic let their readership know that Gosnell, was going to be shown at the White House. Gosnell is the true-life story of Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist who in 2013 was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder for babies he killed after they were born. At the time both the prosecutor and the mainstream media emphasized that the case wasn’t about abortion, but about the murder of born babies. But what makes the film a powerful pro-life argument is the defense offered by Gosnell’s attorney: he argued that what Gosnell did to these babies after birth was not significantly different from what other abortionists were, with the law’s blessing, doing to babies before birth. It wasn’t enough to get his client off, but the argument is sound, and for any of the undecided in the viewing audience his reasoning could be convicting. President Trump didn’t watch the film, but in the lead-up to the screening he received a lot of criticism. So why did he let Gosnell be shown in the White House? The cynic might say this was a mostly-pain-free way to appease his Christian base – it excited them, and even though it got widespread negative coverage in the mainstream media, that negative coverage was over quite quickly. But there is another plausible explanation: maybe the former pro-choice Democrat has taken a genuine pro-life turn. If so, then this screening was the president making the deliberate choice to take some heat so an important film could get some much-needed publicity. To bolster that case, consider two other examples of presidential pro-life agitation from earlier this year. In January he once again spoke, via video, to the tens of thousands attending the Washington DC March for Life. Then in February, in his State of the Union address, he responded pointedly to a just-passed New York abortion bill. He told the millions watching: There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our Nation saw in recent days.  Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth.  These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world.  And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth. To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb. Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life.  And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth:  all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God. This last line is remarkable – it gets at the very core of where our value comes from, and why our worth doesn’t differ, no matter our size, location, or level of development. Our worth doesn’t come from what we can do, but from in Whose Image we are made. Though this is the issue in the abortion debate, it’s almost never heard. We’re all very aware of this president’s faults, so it is not his body of work we are praising here. And we don’t even need to be convinced Trump is sincerely pro-life to see how his provocative, courageous, and sometimes downright insightful advocacy for the unborn is an example well worth imitating. He is loud. May we be so too. Check out our review of Gosnell here. ...

News

Bad news for PP is good news for unborn babies!

If something makes Planned Parenthood sad, then it’s likely there’s something for the unborn and their advocates to celebrate. That was certainly true when the abortion giant issued their press release “New Data on abortion bans show alarming spike” at the end of March. The report gave reason for pro-lifers to thank God for what progress is being made. So what’s the good new? In the first four months of 2019 we’ve seen: “250 bills restricting abortion have been filed in…state legislatures” 41 states have seen some abortion-restricting bill proposed “Seven states have proposed total bans on abortion” “Six states are down to one abortion provider” While most pro-life bills aren't successful, this is the path William Wilberforce took to end slavery in Britain. He proposed unsuccessful bills and kept on proposing them again and again until finally one of his bills wasn’t unsuccessful after all. In the same way, these 250 bills in 2019 are keeping the plight of the unborn in the public eye. We can hope and pray that God will bless these efforts to change hearts and provide these little ones the protection they need. You can download John Piper's short 77-page biography of William Wilberforce here for free....

News

Saturday Selections - Feb. 16, 2019

The Top 10 Scientific Problems with Biological and Chemical Evolution (20-minute read) This is a long but fascinating introduction to the enormous problems with evolutionary theory. This is an Intelligent Design (ID) perspective that creationists will appreciate too. 7 questions to ask your daughter's boyfriend Dad, is the fellow dating your daughter ready and willing to answer questions like: How did God save you? What does following Christ look like now? Do you struggle with pornography? What do you like about her? 3 ways not to love your children Parents, love is not self-seeking, easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs. Assisted suicide turned homicide? Dutch results scare even liberals In the US 2.5% of deaths are "induced" – that means the person died at his or someone else’s hand, not of by illness or accident. In the Netherlands it has reached 25%...and even liberals are wondering if it has gone too far. Cancer and God's sovereignty "My view of God’s sovereignty went from theoretical to critical with one phone call....Everything changed when I received a cancer diagnosis on the day before my thirty-fourth birthday. Are our kids ready to respond to these pro-abortion arguments? Normally any video shared in Saturday Selections would be generally positive, or even explicitly Christian. This video is the opposite. It is from the co-founder of a "Shout Your Abortion" campaign that is trying to normalize abortion. We're sharing it because it is this sort of "nodding, smiling, everyday evil" that we parents need to teach our children how to refute. Stand to Reason shows how, first with the linked article above, and then with this pro-life crash course here. So get yourself prepared by checking out the links, then grab your teens and work through this video together. This is the battle we're in – we need to make sure our children are prepared for the fight. ...

Pro-life - Abortion, Satire

Why men are superior to women – a pro-life analogy

What follows is the text of a brochure that was delivered to more than 20,000 houses in Edmonton, Alberta during an election campaign about 15 years ago. It got a lot of people talking... and quite a number of them screaming. We'd assumed no one could possibly take the title seriously, but we were wrong, and many people did. But, strangely, when we explained that, rather than being an attack on women, this was actually a defense of the unborn, the screaming only got louder. **** This brochure is not about why all men are superior to all women – such a broad generalization is unscientific (as there are always the rare exceptions) and could even be viewed as sexist. No, in this brochure we are going to deal specifically with why Bob is superior to Susan. And in the process we will touch on why most men are superior to most women. Now, there are four differences that make Bob superior to Susan. First, Bob lives in Edmonton and Susan lives in Calgary. This makes Susan inferior for reasons that are so obvious they really don’t need explanation. Second, Bob, as a mature adult, is more developed than the prepubescent Susan. Since she is less developed she is clearly less human. Third, Bob is a healthy individual but Susan relies on a variety of medical devices to stay alive. She would die without her regular treatments and therefore does not rate as fully human. Finally, Bob is much bigger than the diminutive Susan. Since there is less of Susan obviously she is less human – subhuman even. And, of course, size is why most men are superior to most women since men are (aside from the rare exceptions) bigger than women. Four differences in all, and in each instance they make a compelling scientific case for Bob’s superiority… and also for male superiority in general. Right? You don’t agree? Good, because neither do we. And yet people point to these same four differences to argue that the unborn are somehow inferior and less human than those of us are already born. Location – the unborn do live in a different location than us. But so do Calgarians. Does the fact they live in a different location make them inferior, less human, and less worthy of protection? Of course not. Level of Development – the unborn are less developed than us but that again is no reason to think they are any less human. If it is, then the less developed Susan is also less of a person than the mature Bob. Viability – the argument is often made that the unborn aren’t human because they are dependent on their mothers – they aren’t viable on their own. But newborns are pretty dependent on their mothers as well. And Susan is also not viable on her own. Are we now allowed to kill anyone dependent on pacemakers, dialysis machines, insulin shots or the like? Obviously, viability doesn’t make someone more or less human. Size – the unborn are much smaller than us. Does that make them less human? If it does then the smaller Susan must also be less human than the bigger Bob. In Canada we’ve justified the killing of over 100,000 unborn children each year by pretending that their location, level of development, dependency, and size somehow make them less than human. But we know better than that. You know better than that. We’re standing up for the unborn. Won’t you? ----- A brilliant filmmaker used this article and brochure as the leap-off point for a short video. Check out Breanne Jansen's creation below.  ...

News, Science - General

Genetically-engineered babies have now been born

Human experimentation has been happening around the world for the past four decades, with research scientists actively carrying out experiments on human embryos. The stated objective, in usually something noble-sounding: to learn more about human biology, or to possibly treat some disease conditions. And while few scientists will admit to an interest in cloning people, or in actually producing genetically-altered individuals, this is the direction our society is heading. Indeed, modern society does not value unborn babies enough to protect them, and at the same time society is terribly afraid of genetic abnormalities. Under these conditions – little respect for unborn human life, and little respect for those with genetic abnormalities like Down syndrome – it would seem human cloning and gene alteration is inevitable. But it isn’t acceptable yet. That became clear when, on November 26, 2018, the scientific and medical world reacted in horror to the announcement by Dr. Jiankui He at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong, that he had created modified human embryos. These embryos had been implanted in their mother, and in early November, twin baby girls had been born in China. This was a world-wide first – the first genetically-edited full-term human babies.  What happened Ever since the 1970s introduction of in vitro fertilization of human eggs with sperm outside the womb, the stage was set for scientists to experiment on such embryos. Many people, mindful of the special nature of humans at every level of development, protested against such work. Even some scientists were nervous about the implications of these experiments. However, for many, the concern was only that individuals damaged in laboratory experiments should not be allowed to develop to term. They were okay with the human experimentation – they just didn’t want these babies to be born. As a result, a general understanding was reached between ethicists and scientists, that no experiments on embryos would continue longer than 14 days – at this point these embryos were to be destroyed. The 14-day limit was chosen because it is at this point that the embryos begin to develop specialized tissues and thus becomes more obviously human (Nature July 5, 2018 p. 22). But as the experimentation has become more sophisticated, scientists have begun to promote the idea of a longer timeline for their investigations. Thus, a conference was held in May at Rice University at which 30 American scientists and ethicists discussed “whether and how to move the boundary” (Nature July 5, 2018 p. 22). About the same time, Nature magazine published an announcement concerning such research: “At present, many countries …prohibit culture beyond 14 days, a restriction that reflects the conclusions of the 1984 UK Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilization and Embryology (also known as the Warnock Report. Whether this rule should be relaxed is currently being debated” (May 3, 2018 p. 6, emphasis mine). Scientists are clearly seeking to relax the rules governing their studies. “Germ-line changes” Research on human embryos has continued worldwide since those early days. However, all parties once agreed that on no account should modified embryos be implanted into a mother and be allowed to develop. The reasons included society’s disapproval of experiments on people, but especially because such individuals would carry “germ-line changes.” Changes to most cells in the human body have no impact on future generations – these changes die with that individual. However, changes to the gametes (egg and sperm) are called germ-line changes because these modifications will be passed on to each subsequent generation. It is not that the scientists involved actually object to germ-line changes. The problem is that they want their results to be predictable and “safe.” Any uncertainties could lead to catastrophic results, ensuing hostile public opinion and big lawsuits. It would be far better to proceed cautiously. Thus, it is illegal in the US and many other countries to alter genes of human embryos or gametes. However, within the last decade, another new biomedical technology has appeared on the scene that has drastically streamlined gene editing in numerous organisms. The CRISPR-Cas9 technology has made gene editing much easier and much more precise.* Obviously, it was a mere matter of time before someone used this to try his hand at gene editing in human embryos. The scientific community offered no serious objections when Dr. Jiankui He of China presented an account of such work at a conference at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York during the spring of 2018. At this conference, Dr. He discussed the editing of embryos from seven couples. However, at that point, this man made no mention that any of these embryos had been implanted into their mothers. Dr. He “edits” babies to be HIV-resistant According to a Nov. 28 news item at Nature.com (David Cyranoski's "CRISPR-baby scientist fails to satisfy critics") Dr. He recruited couples in which the male was HIV positive but the female was normal. Individual sperm cells were washed to remove any viruses and the cells were injected into eggs along with CRISPR-Cas9 enzymes carrying a gene for resistance to HIV infection. A total of 30 fertilized embryos resulted of which 19 were deemed viable (able to live) and apparently healthy. These were tested for the CCR5 mutation which confers resistance to HIV infection. From one couple, two of four embryos tested positive for the mutation. One embryo carried the mutated gene on one chromosome and a normal gene on the other, while the other embryo carried the mutation on both maternal and paternal chromosomes. These embryos were implanted into the mother who successfully gave birth to twin baby girls early in November. No information was forthcoming on the fate of the other embryos, although Dr. He now says that another woman may be pregnant. The response of the scientific community has been shock and horror. But why are they so horrified? Is this not what they have been working towards? The scientific community is afraid because the risks of this procedure at this preliminary stage of research, are substantial. There are, at present, major questions as to whether the genetic modifications will actually have the desired effect. A well-known problem is that the CRISPR apparatus sometimes cuts the chromosomes at other places as well as/ or instead of the desired location. This off-target effect has been found to be a major problem in some studies. In addition, most genes are known to influence a number of seemingly unrelated traits. This phenomenon is called pleiotropic impact of one gene on other genes. These risks are particularly serious when we consider that these are germ-line changes, that will impact subsequent generations from this individual. Response The same Nov. 28 Nature.com news item declared: “Fears are now growing in the gene-editing community that He’s actions could stall the responsible development of gene editing in babies.” Indeed, a commentator on one website reflected that “if this experiment is unsuccessful or leads to complications later in life … set the field of gene therapy back years if not decades.” In view of these concerns, many individuals and medical and scientific institutions released statements expressing condemnation for this gene-editing work. Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health in the United States, declared that the NIH “does not support the use of gene-editing technologies in human embryos.” The Chinese Academy of Sciences declared that Dr. He’s work “violates internationally accepted ethical principles regulating human experimentation and human rights law." A colleague and friend of Dr. He suggested that the gene-editing work lacked prudence, that it could, unfortunately, serve to create distrust in the public. Obviously, an important concern on the part of the scientists was that the promise of this technology not be rejected by the public. Dr. David Liu of Harvard and MIT’s Broad Institute (heavily involved in CRISPR research), insisted of He’s work: “It’s an appalling example of what not to do about a promising technology that has great potential to benefit society.” Dr. George Daley, dean of Harvard Medical School, summed up the feelings of many colleagues when he said: “It’s possible that the first instance came forward as a misstep, but that should not lead us to stick our heads in the sand and not consider more responsible pathway to clinical translation.” In other words, many scientists seek to continue to pursue the goals also sought by Dr. He, only the rest of them will proceed more slowly and carefully. Conclusion It is largely Christian objections to treating human embryos as things, rather than as persons (made in the image of God), that has led to the ethical rules that control this research. It is a vestige of our Judeo-Christian heritage which limits scientists from just doing whatever they want. They have to obtain permission from ethics committees to conduct their particular research program. Of course, Christians want to see this work made completely illegal, but if political realities make such a ban impossible, then we can still seek to restrict this work as much as possible. It is interesting that a news feature in Nature (July 5, 2018 p. 22) articulated the fascination and unease that some scientists derive from this work. Bioethicist Dr. Jennifer Johnston of the Hastings Center in upstate New York, reflected on the respect that the human embryo commands even in secular observers: “That feeling of wonder and awe reminds us that this is the earliest version of human beings and that’s why so many people have moral misgivings …..  It reminds us that this is not just a couple of cells in a dish.” Are there any good results from this controversy over genetically-engineered babies? Perhaps there is one. The event may cause more people to pay critical attention to the experiments that are, every day, conducted on human embryos. Let the whole world know that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, from the very first cell onward, and manipulation in laboratories should have no place in our society. For further study * For more on this topic, see: Dr. Helder’s book No Christian Silence on Science pages 32-39 for a discussion on Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (ie. CRISPR). Jennifer Doudna and Samuel Sternberg’s book  A Crack in Creation: the new power to control evolution, page 281. Dr. Helder's article, providing further background to CRISPR, Natural Firewalls in Bacteria ...

Pro-life - Abortion

DIRECTION MATTERS: the difference between legal, decriminalized, and regulated abortion, & why we support gestational limits

It has been 30 years now since the Supreme Court struck down Canada’s last abortion law in their R. v. Morgentaler decision (1988). Soon after, the Mulroney government made an attempt to craft a new law. But Bill C-43 was a piece of legislation that would have protected only some pre-born children. Those involved in Canada’s pro-life movement during the early 1990s were divided on whether or not an imperfect law was something they could support. Today this issue is still being debated. On the one side there are those who argue we should not support legislative measures that protect some but not all pre-born children. On the other side we are arguing for advancing abortion legislation one step at a time. We wholeheartedly believe that Bible-believing Christians can, in good conscience, support partial restrictions on abortion, including gestational limits. IN DEFENSE OF DEBATE Trying to save the pre-born is a fight to which many Christians have devoted a significant part of their lives. It is an issue we are passionate about and heavily invested in. It is, consequently, very hard for us to discuss strategy in a dispassionate manner. But when we turn to the Bible we see there is good reason to try. Proverbs 18:17 tells us, “The first to present his case seems right, until a second comes and questions him.” Finding out who is right is often aided by hearing both sides. Proverbs 27:17 makes a similar point: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” We need to imitate the Bereans (Acts 17) who were willing to hear, but then went to the Scriptures to test what was being said to them. In what follows, we are going to make our case for the morality of advancing abortion legislation one step at a time. We know some will disagree, but we hope that we can interact, as fellow Christians, in a God-honoring manner, having patience with one another and showing love to each other, as we search for the truth on this matter. WHAT WAS UNCLEAR WITH BILL C-43 IS CLEAR TODAY It’s been 30 years since Canada’s abortion law was struck down and 27 years since its intended replacement, Bill C-43, was defeated in the Senate. Many pro-life organizations celebrated the bill’s defeat. It was a piece of legislation that, according to then justice minister Kim Campbell, abortionists would have “no need to fear.” She wrote: “The legislation is designed to protect a doctor from being convicted under the new law (and) protect nurses and other medical staff acting under the doctor’s direction.” While the bill did offer more restrictions on abortion than we presently have, when compared to the law the Supreme Court had struck down only three years before, it had far fewer protections for the pre-born. There was also some reason to hope that if this bill was defeated it could be replaced with a better one. Few would have expected that for the next three decades no such bill would be forthcoming. But here is the key point: the situation then was far murkier than it is today. Then it was unclear whether a better bill might be passed, and it was unclear whether this bill limited evil or expanded it. Compared to the completely lawless situation they then had, the bill offered some limitations. But compared to the previous abortion law from just three years before, this bill greatly expanded the evil that could be done. There is nothing murky about the situation we now find ourselves in. Today we have had 30 years of unfettered abortion, and 27 years of governmental cowardice – no prime minister has ever again tried to pass an abortion law. So if a bill is proposed today that offers any limitations on abortion, it would be clear what direction this is taking us: towards limiting evil, and away from its expansion. THE COUNTER-ARGUMENT But some pro-life groups are convinced that any law that saves only some is unjust, and can’t be supported. Their argument goes something like this: Since Canada has no abortion law, promoting a law that restricts only some abortions (for example, making abortions after 12 weeks illegal) would mean that we are legalizing and condoning all of the abortions that are not banned (e.g., those happening before 12 weeks). In a January 20, 2014 editorial, The Interim, a Canadian pro-life newspaper, put it this way: We...find politically motivated compromise that creates arbitrary demarcations to protect some human lives but not others to be abhorrent, adding the insult of age discrimination to the injury of death by abortion. Protecting pre-born life requires political action, not political compromise. So the question we have to answer is: if we promoted a law that would restrict abortion to 12 weeks’ gestation, would we be legalizing and/or condoning the abortions that are permitted? ON LEGAL AND ILLEGAL To answer that question properly, we have to understand what is actually meant by the terms legalizing, decriminalizing, and regulating. From there we will explain why we all should support regulating abortion. But by no means should we support abortion being legal, let alone condoned. Confused? It actually isn’t too complicated. Please take a few minutes to walk with us through a few points.  1. What is not illegal is legal In our legal system, unless something is illegal it is presumed to be legal. For example, walking your dog without a leash is presumed to be legal unless and until a bylaw is passed requiring a leash. We could not say, before the bylaw was passed, that walking your dog without a leash was not legal; it wasn’t illegal, and so it was legal. We also need to make a distinction between something being legal and something being legalized. The common use of the word “legal” can simply be interpreted as “allowed” or “permissible.” Similarly, the term “legalized” can mean the process of removing a prohibition against something that is currently not legal (i.e., the process of making something permissible). With abortion in Canada there are no laws that regulate the practice (although some doctors’ manuals might advise some limitations). So, there are no laws regulating which procedures can be used, how late in the pregnancy the procedure can be done, or what information should be shared with the patient. And there are no waiting periods, age restrictions, parental notifications, etc. Generally speaking, we can say that abortion in Canada is completely legal from conception until the child is fully outside its mother. Abortion has yet to be regulated since the 1988 decision of the Supreme Court made it fully legal. 2. New restrictions do not make abortion legal – it is already legal Even if there is no abortion law, abortion remains legal. Adding restrictions doesn’t make it legal, nor does it make abortion more legal. Some of what was legal is now made illegal (e.g., abortion after 12 or 18 weeks’ gestation), thereby saving some lives and limiting evil. That is exactly what the Bible calls the State to do – to limit evil. Some might object, “Wouldn’t a law prohibiting abortions after a certain number of weeks arbitrarily divide humans into ‘protected’ and ‘unprotected’ classes?” The continuum of human life begins at fertilization and ends at natural death. Currently under Canadian law only “born” humans have protection, so our law today already divides humans into “protected” and “unprotected” classes. If the law was changed to reflect increased protection by extending it to “pre-born” humans from 20 weeks to birth, then fewer babies would fall under the unprotected class, thus limiting the injustice of abortion. We certainly do and would support any initiative that would move more humans into the “protected” class. 3. In a country where there are no restrictions or laws pertaining to abortion, regulating abortion is a step toward making abortion illegal  We have already established that abortion is allowed in Canada for any reason. In this case, regulating it does not mean we are granting something that was illegal the legitimacy of legal status. Rather it means limiting and regulating by law something that once had absolutely no restrictions. Note as well that regulating abortion is worthy of support only if we are moving in a direction that limits abortion. In a 1968 Canada, our argument in favor of a gestational limit law would fail: a gestational limit of 12 weeks would have expanded evil, greatly increasing the number of children left unprotected. However, in a 2018 Canada, proposing such a gestational limit is fully in accord with the Bible because such a limit would restrict evil, greatly increasing the number of children protected. It is understandable that pro-life organizations do not like to promote a law that doesn’t protect all pre-born children. We would all much prefer to see a complete ban. But the alternative is to maintain the legal reality of abortion-on-demand. A ban is simply not possible in a democratic state in which the people’s hearts are against God and against life. The Bible teaches us that the role of politics is to restrict The reality is that the law won’t be able to eradicate evil. FURTHERMORE... Two further points need to be made. First, there is a very real sense in which all pro-lifers have already endorsed a step-by-step approach to eliminating abortion, even though these steps will protect only some children. All pro-lifers support efforts to defund abortion. By doing so, they support a process that would protect some children, but not others. Under defunding, abortion remains legal as long as the mother or the father pays for the abortion. Someone could argue, “I won’t support that defunding law because it only saves poor babies while all the babies of rich mothers who can afford the abortion will still be terminated.” That may be so, but defunding abortion is a step in the right direction. Such a law does not say that abortion is right; it does say (implicitly) that you can do it as long as you pay for it yourself. So consistency demands that those opposed to gestational limits should also object to abortion defunding. Or that those who support defunding also support gestational limits. Second, one of the objections to this step-by-step approach is that it supposedly condones the death of those we cannot yet save. But saving some does not mean we condone the death of those we can’t save. As Jonathon Van Maren pointed out in a 2012 article, many Jewish children were saved during the Second World War (including by some of our parents and grandparents) because they were small enough to hide in the homes of brave families who took them in. Not only could they hide, more could hide in a small space than adults or seniors. Nobody would ever say – or even think the thought – that, because these families saved children and not adults, they were condoning the deaths of the adults that they couldn’t save. Clearly then, when we can save only some, saving them does not condone the death of any others we could not save! OUR CHALLENGE In this article we’ve explained that gestational limits would not legalize abortion because it already is legal. We’ve also argued that saving some does not condone the death of those we cannot yet save. And we’ve tried to show that all pro-lifers already support legislative efforts that will protect only some children (in this case, the children of poor mothers). We want to conclude with a challenge. If you think we are wrong, please address these points one by one and explain why. Be specific. Please show how abortion in Canada is, in any sense, not already completely legal right now. Show how a gestational limit that will protect only some differs morally from a defunding effort that will protect only some. And explain why those who saved Jewish children weren’t condoning the death of their parents (who they couldn’t save), but today when we try to save some pre-born children (via a gestational limit) we are supposedly condoning the death of the children we aren’t able to save. CONCLUSION In Canada we have opportunity right now to save some of the many pre-born children being killed by abortion. We value them all. However, in today’s political, social and legal climate, we can’t save them all – we can’t eliminate this evil. But we can take steps to limit it. We can take steps to protect more and more children. We can save some now, while continuing to push for further protection for all children in the womb. Gestational limits would be a step in the wrong direction in any country in which abortion was currently banned. But in a country such as Canada, where all abortions are legal, this is a step in the right direction. This would restrict evil. So direction matters – it makes all the difference. Of course, political and legal action in the pro-life cause can’t happen in isolation, so this is certainly not the only pro-life work that needs to be done. Far from it! The political/legal action discussed above must happen in concert with continued education, abortion awareness, cultural engagement, prayer, crisis-pregnancy counseling, adoption efforts, etc. Together, and by God’s grace, we can work towards the end of state-sanctioned abortion in Canada! This is an updated version of an article that first appeared in the March 2014 issue of Reformed Perspective. Mike Schouten is the director of WeNeedALaw.ca, Mark Penninga and André Schutten are both with ARPACanada.ca, and Jon Dykstra is the editor of ReformedPerspective.ca....

Pro-life - Abortion

STAY ON MESSAGE: a lesson from the Chilliwack pro-life flag display

When a politician gets ready to do a television interview he’ll have his staff prepare “talking points.” These are brief one or two line summaries of the points the politician most wants to discuss. They need to be short and sweet so they will be easy to remember, and so the politician can stay focused on them. Then, if a reporter wants to ask about a government scandal, the politician will try to turn the conversation to these talking points: “Linda, that’s not what Canadians are concerned with. But they do care whether they have a job which is why our government has…” Pro-life talking point In the abortion debate we have one core talking point: From conception onward the unborn are precious little human beings like you and me. And they deserve the same protection under the law. That’s it. There are other aspects of the abortion debate – other sub-issues – but this is the big one, the central truth that we want to advance. This is the talking point we want to bring up in every conversation we have about the unborn. Why is it so important to keep this talking point in mind? Because our opponents wants to gets us sidetracked. On rare occasion the other side will actually argue that the unborn aren't human, but that's not a discussion they can win – the facts are all against them. And the longer we talk about the humanity of the unborn, the more certain it is that the truth will come out. So, because they can’t counter the truth, they want to get the discussion moved to more winnable ground. They want to get us off topic. We want to defend who not how That’s what we saw happen some years back, right after the Fraser Valley East ARPA set up a 10,000 flag display on the grounds around the Chilliwack war memorial. Half the flags were pink, the other half blue, and each one represented 10 children who had been killed by abortion in the space of a single year in Canada. It was an eye-catching display. However, both local newspapers denounced it as a "stunt." According to their editorial and articles, the protest shouldn't have been set up so near the war memorial or so close to Remembrance Day. And they didn't like the way the ARPA group had gone about getting permission for the display, with one paper going as far as accusing the organizers of lying. They were offended because of how it was done, when it was done, and where it was done. What they were studiously avoiding was a discussion of who the display was about. In the face of this type of outrage it is easy to become defensive, and apologetic, even when we’ve done nothing wrong. But we need to understand this hostility for what it is: they said it was about the how, when and where, but that simply wasn’t true. If someone set up an identical display under identical circumstances, but each flag had represented someone who died from cancer, instead of denouncing it, the papers would have treated us to articles about courageous cancer survivors. The truth about cancer isn’t offensive, so it doesn’t need to be evaded. But because this was about the unborn, they wanted to move the discussion to more winnable ground. Instead of debating the humanity of the unborn, they want us to debate the timing of our event. Instead of discussing when life begins, they wanted us talking about appropriate locations. But none of this was genuine – it was all about distraction and evasion. So we need to keep our focus on just where they don’t want it to be. No matter what they say, we need to steer the conversation back to the unborn. So how might that look in real life? Here are a few possibilities 1. Argue by analogy The abortion debate hinges on the humanity of the unborn, and that’s what we want to discuss. One way to get there is by pointing out how people would act if this was about 100,000 people who were already born. They’ll say “That’s different!” and that, right there, is our opening to investigate with them whether it really is different.  How could you do this so near Remembrance Day? Abortion kills more than 100,000 children each year, and that’s bigger than the whole population of Chilliwack. If each and every year somewhere in Canada a Chilliwack-sized city was wiped off the face of the map, would you worry about the timing of the protest? Or would any time and all the time be the appropriate time? But that’s different. The population of Chilliwack is made up of human beings, and the unborn aren’t human yet. Ah, now we’re getting to the real issue here – are the unborn different than you and me? Why don’t we take a look at the facts… 2. Question the insult In debate, when someone throws an accusation at you, one of the more effective counters is to simply ask the person to explain their accusation and why it is valid. Their accusation isn’t valid, so they won’t be able to do it, and we can return the focus to where it should be. "Why did you have to do it next to the War Memorial?" "Abortion kills 100,000 children each year, so can you tell me why exactly it is wrong to tell people about them next to a war memorial?" "Because it dishonors the service of these soldiers." "Telling people that 100,000 children are being killed each year in Canada dishonors our honored dead? How so?" "Because it distracts from what they did!" "How so? They fought for our rights, and there is no more fundamental right than the right to life. So what more appropriate place could we speak up for the 100,000 unborn children who are being denied that right?" 3. Keep it simple And sometimes our response can be very short and to the point (so long as that point is our talking point!). "How dare you!" "When 100,000 children are being killed each year in Canada, how could we stay silent?" "I’m outraged" "1 in 4 children in Canada are murdered before they are born. If we want to get outraged, how about we get outraged about that?" Conclusion It doesn’t matter exactly how we do it, or exactly what we say. What’s vital is only that we stay on message, and that we don’t let ourselves get distracted into discussing issues that are nothing more than distractions. The unborn need us to stay focused....

Pro-life - Abortion

Don't know? Don't kill.

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News

New Gerber “spokesbaby” has Down syndrome

Since 2010, Gerber, the baby food company, had conducted an annual photo contest to find real-life Gerber babies – the winner is then their “spokesbaby” for the next year. One hundred and forty thousand families entered the contest this year, and the winner was one-year-old Lucas Warren, the first child with Down syndrome to be named a “Gerber Baby.” “Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s long-standing heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby,” Bill Partyka, chief executive and president of Gerber, said. The Warrens won a $50,000 prize, and with Lucas’s new title as the Gerber baby, he will be featured on Gerber’s social media channels throughout the year. He is the eighth winner of the Gerber Baby Photo Search. We can be thankful that Gerber is celebrating Lucas, but we should also understand why it is that the world is valuing him. Lucas’s smile won him the iconic contest; he was picked because he is cute. But around the world Down syndrome children are not being valued – these babies are being aborted, to the extent that in Iceland and Denmark there are almost no Down syndrome children. That’s because many think people with disabilities don’t amount to anything because they have more limited abilities in specific areas. But our value should not be about our abilities and what we can do; Lucas is valuable even when he’s not smiling! And that’s because his value – everyone’s value – comes from being created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27)....

News

26-year-old woman gives birth to 25-year-old girl

We start counting our age from the day of our birth, but if we think on that for a moment we realize that’s not, technically, accurate. Life begins at conception, not birth, so most of us are nine months older than we’ve been owning up to. But in the case of little Emma Gibson, the difference between conception and birth wasn't nine months, it was just over 24 years. When she was born this past November, she was already 25 years old because Emma had been conceived, via in vitro fertilization (IVF), back in 1992. And at that time her adoptive mother, Tina Gibson, was just 18 months old. Since 1992 Emma had been left in frozen storage. As WORLD magazine’s Jamie Dean reported, Emma isn’t the only child that’s been left waiting. At least 600,000 embryos sit frozen in storage facilities across the United States, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Some reproductive experts believe the number is closer to 1 million. Canadian estimates are hard to come by, but a 2014 CBC article put the number at 60,000. To the world, these hundreds of thousands of embryos are a legal headache. While they don’t acknowledge them as human, they do seem to recognize there is something special about them, which is why so many of these children are not being destroyed but being indefinitely stored, without plans as for what to do with them. Emma’s rescue underscores the opportunity Christian couples have to save embryonic children via what’s called “snowflake adoption" – a frozen embryo can be thawed, and if it survives that thawing, can then be implanted in its adopted mother’s womb and, hopefully, carried to term. But even as Christians are involved in rescuing children from this frozen state, what should we think about IVF for our own infertility treatments? When couples struggle with infertility, IVF is presented as a near miraculous means to help them get the baby they’ve been yearning for. IVF is all about babies, and we’re pro-life, so we’re all about babies too! On the face of it, IVF would seem a life-affirming medical procedure. But there is a reason hundreds of thousands of children are left frozen, waiting to be born. IVF, as it is commonly done, involves the intentional creation of “excess” embryos – the creation of more children than will be implanted in their mother’s womb. That’s not how it has to be done, but that’s how it is done most of the time for reasons of cost effectiveness. These embryos then face one of four fates: Any that seem abnormal are, as a rule, “discarded” – British numbers indicate that this happens to roughly half the children. Some are implanted in the mother. A small number are donated to science for experimentation (where they are killed). The rest are left in a frozen state, waiting to be born. But unless something dramatic happens – unless “snowflake adoptions" start happening by the hundreds of thousands – the most likely fate for these children is eventual death. Christian couples struggling with infertility need to understand that the IVF industry offers hope, but has a great darkness to it. We don’t think of IVF doctors as abortionists, but when we recognize that life begins at conception then it’s no slur to make the comparison. Abortionists kill half their patients and it seems the same, or worse, can be said about IVF doctors too. So, of course, to rescue babies like Emma, we’ll need help from this IVF industry – there is a right way that IVF can be done. But we mustn’t be naïve about the darkness underlying this industry, lest, in our ignorance, we get caught up in it....

News

Chip and Joanna Gaines and global warming

When Fixer Upper’s Chip and Joanna Gaines announced earlier this month that they were pregnant with child number five, the congratulations rolled in. Thousands of encouraging messages flooded the home-improvement-show hosts’ Twitter and Facebook pages. But over at CBC.ca there was one voice of dissent, notable for the objection she raised. In her article “It shouldn’t be taboo to criticize parents for having too many kids” Kristen Pyszczyk characterized the Gaines’ decision to have baby #5 as “a choice that affects everyone who inhabits our planet.” Yes, she was making the case that, due to the threat of climate change, the Gaines’ newest little one shouldn’t be seen as a blessing: “Procreation is becoming a global public health concern, rather than a personal decision. So when people do irresponsible things like having five children, we absolutely need to be calling them out.” Pyszczyk gets some facts wrong – she claims that “populations are multiplying exponentially” and they simply aren’t. But Christians don’t need to know the latest statistics to see through her argument. We just need to know our Bibles. It’s there we find that procreation isn’t a “public heath concern” and large families aren’t a problem. Children are a blessing, not a curse (Ps. 113:9, Ps. 127:3-5, Deut. 7:13, Gen. 48:4, etc.) But what of the increasing numbers of mouths to feed that Pyszczyk is worried about? Well, her worldview blinds her to the full truth. Yes, children come with their own carbon footprint, and a mouth that needs filling, but they also come with two hands to work, and a brain to dream up innovations. And as Solomon teaches us, we can “sharpen” one another (Prov. 27:17). Why have we seen so many technological leaps this past century? Because we have more minds on the planet than ever before, and that means all the more opportunities for one to sharpen another. We are not just consumers but producers and innovators too. The reason this matters is because Pyszczyk’s short-sighted “children as a concern” narrative isn’t just a minor mistake. This perspective has been a major justification for abortion, which, over the last half century, has killed hundreds of millions. So it’s vital, then, that we teach the world to see children as God sees them. We can do that by congratulating families, like the Gaines, who are blessed with growing families, and we can do so by, when God allows, embracing that blessing ourselves....

Adult non-fiction, Pro-life - Euthanasia

SPEAKING AGAINST SUICIDE: a summary review of "A Guide to Discussing Assisted Suicide"

Do you find it harder to make the case against euthanasia than against abortion? That might be, in part, because we have less experience – abortion has been legal in Canada since 1969, and euthanasia only since 2016. Also, in abortion, we have victims who need advocates because they can’t speak for themselves, whereas in euthanasia the victims are also the perpetrators. How do you help someone who doesn’t want to be helped – who wants to die? And consider how, in euthanasia, many of the cases involve terminal illnesses, and so have the same emotional tension as the hardest cases – those involving rape and incest – have in the abortion debate. That’s why it’s more difficult. JUST TWO OPTIONS But, just as in the abortion debate, the key is to first find the central issue. With abortion, the main question is, "Who is the unborn?" There are only two options. If the unborn is not human, there is no justification needed for “its” surgical removal. But if the unborn is human, then no justification is sufficient for killing him or her. As in Blaise Alleyne and Jonathan Van Maren’s explain in their new book, A Guide to Discussing Assisted Suicide Similarly, the crux of opposition to euthanasia can also be boiled down to just one question: How do we help those who are feeling desperate enough to want to kill themselves? And again, there are only two options: either we prevent suicide, or we assist it. Alleyne and Van Maren have given us a wonderful tool in this book. Their extensive experience in the pro-life movement is evident as they start by framing the debate. If we’re going to be effective, pro-lifers need to understand the three possible positions that people hold on this issue. They are: the split position – we should prevent some suicides while helping others the total choice position – anyone who wants to commit suicide should be helped to do so and the pro-life position – all life is precious, and all suicides are tragic THE SPLIT POSITION So how do we respond to the split position? Van Maren and Alleyne say that it is the job of pro-life apologetics is to show the split position’s inherent inconsistency. Suicide is tragic sometimes, but to be celebrated other times? The authors then give ways to counter the reasons often used to justify some suicides, given by the acronym QUIT for: Quality of life Unbearable suffering Incurable condition Terminal prognosis They spend 20 pages showing why these are fallacious reasons, so I can’t properly sum up their argument in just a line or two, but one underlying flaw to these justifications for suicide is that they are based on ageism and ableism. So in much the same way we can expose the inadequacy of many justification for abortion by bringing out an imaginary "two-year-old Timmy" (“What if the mother was too poor to have a baby?” “Would that be a good reason to kill Timmy?”) in the assisted suicide debate we can bring out an imaginary able-bodied 19-year-old. If someone opposes this 19-year-old committing suicide, why is it that they are fine with that 90-year-old doing so? Or that wheelchair bound lass? We can expose them for being ageist and ableist – treating people as less worthy of life based on their age or ability – and show them it is wrong to assist the suicide of anyone, of any age or level of health because as the authors put it, "suicide is a symptom , not a solution." TOTAL CHOICE Next, the authors take on those are (sadly) willing to be consistent and advocate total choice for all who desire to be assisted in ending their lives. Our only response is to insist that the suicidal need love even more than they need argument. THE SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES The fourth chapter shows how dangerous it is to accept either the split or the total choice position, because they have always involved a slippery slope toward more and more assisted killings they reduce the willingness to prevent suicide they undermine the morale of everyone who works in any facility that provides suicide assistance THE PRO-LIFE POSITION Finally, the authors show the pro-life position. We know, on the one hand, that life is a gift from God, so it is not to be thrown away, but on the other, that all life ends, and because of Jesus we need not fear death. So the pro-life position is not about continuing life at all costs. It allows for: the refusal of burdensome treatment the use of pain medication, even when that risks hastening death, as long as the intent of such medication is to alleviate pain rather than to kill The pro-life position also offers positive responses to the suicidal: psychological health resources, pain management, palliative care, and dignity therapy. The authors end with two pleas: "Let death be what takes us, not lack of imagination." In other words, may no-one ever have their death hastened because we refuse to imagine how we may show more compassion. "As people who believe in the dignity and value of every human life, it is our responsibility to.... persuade people that assisted suicide is wrong." In their Guide to Discussing Assisted Suicide Alleyne and Van Maren have done an admirable job of giving us the tools to carry out that responsibility. Given the urgency of the push toward euthanasia in both Canada and U.S., we need to read this book. “A Guide for Discussing Assisted Suicide” can be ordered at lifecyclebooks.com (where you can also find the option to buy in bulk for your pro-life group or circle of friends at greatly reduced prices)....

News

Best pro-life signs at the US March for Life

This year's US March for Life took place on January 19 and marked the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, which struck down many of the country's restrictions on abortion. Canada also has a March for Life, but it takes place four months later, always on or around May 14, to mark the anniversary of Pierre Trudeau’s 1969 Omnibus bill, which first legalized abortion in Canada. Both are attended by tens of thousands. That means there are thousands of creative pro-life minds thinking through how best to communicate the truth about the unborn on thousands of signs, banners and t-shirts. And because the American event is months earlier, Canadians can be inspired by what we see south of the border! What follows is a dozen of the best signs and slogans as seen by yours truly, or shared by sites like The Daily Signal, LifeSiteNews.com and PJ media. Some are blunt, others are clever. One is simply an offer to help. May they serve to inspire! God planned parenthood I support a woman’s right to be born The strong must protect the weak I survived Roe vs. Wade. Roe vs. Wade will not survive me. Pretend I’m a tree. Save me. A person’s a person, no matter how small Me , Still me Abortion is murder Am I more valuable because of my size? You are not alone. We will help you. Already born? Check your privilege. The very best pro-life messaging I think I've ever seen wasn't at this year's March, and wasn't even on this continent. It came on a pair of t-shirts worn by a couple at last year's Romanian March for Life. The potbellied husband wore a shirt that read "This was from choice" while the obviously pregnant wife wore a shirt that read, "This was from God."...

Pro-life - Euthanasia

Physician-assisted suicide: would it be wrong to refer?

Even before euthanasia was legalized in Canada, Christian and other pro-life medical professionals were being pressured to go along. The final report of the Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying said all healthcare providers should be required to: inform patients of all end-of-life options, including physician-assisted dying, regardless of their personal beliefs. either provide a referral or a direct transfer of care to another health care provider or to contact a third party and transfer the patient’s record. These demands aren't going away. As ARPA Canada's Colin Postma noted earlier this month: "the policy in Ontario requires doctors to provide someone who requests euthanasia or assisted suicide with an effective referral to another doctor, if they refuse to carry out the killing themselves." It's because we're going to continue to hear these demands that we need to have a ready response to them. So should Christian doctors and nurses be willing to advise patients about all their "end of life options"? And may Christian doctors and nurses who would never help patients kill themselves refer patients to someone else who will? Or would that make them partially responsible for the evil that is then done? We need clarity for our own sakes – if Christian doctors and nurses are going to take a stand against even referring they need to know this is what God requires of them. So would it be wrong to refer? Sean Murphy of the Protection of Conscience Project says yes, and as simple as his argument is, it's also compelling. In a piece at Mercatornet.com he noted that before Canada’s Supreme Court legalized assisted suicide, if a physician had made arrangements of any sort to have someone kill their patient they: "…would be exposed to criminal prosecution as a party to the offense of first degree murder or assisted suicide, or conspiracy to commit first degree murder or assisted suicide." In other words, when Canada still recognized assisted suicide as murder, it also recognized that referring for it should be a criminal offense too. Referring meant becoming part of a "conspiracy to commit first degree murder or assisted suicide." Now that Canada no longer condemns assisted suicide, it also doesn't condemn referring. But we know better. We still understand that assisted suicide is murder. So for us it is still clear that even the act of referring is a step too far. The Devil wants to sow confusion on this point, because where there is confusion, it is hard to take a stand – who among us wants to risk our career on a stand we aren't sure of? But if we know we are doing what God wants, then the apostle Peter's encouragement in 1 Peter 3:14-17 can give us the courage we need: "But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. 'Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.' But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil." When we are clear in our own minds, then we can make a clear stand to the world. We can share that we think this murder and want no part in it. We can make a compelling case that the government shouldn't force doctors and nurses to do what it would have prosecuted them for just a few years ago. And we can point out that asking doctors to violate their conscience is only going to lead to doctors without consciences....and who would think that a good development? Standing with God may bring suffering. But we've also seen how He can use such a stand to bring relief to Christian doctors and nurses. In Manitoba, earlier this month, the provincial government passed Bill 34, which offers at least some conscience protection to medical personal who don't want to refer. So let's continue to pray and work. May God give Christian doctors and nurses the freedom to continue their life-saving work, and may He give us all the courage and clarity to speak his Truth to a lost and confused world that so desperately needs to hear it....

Assorted

The untimely death of Emmett Louis Till: The power of graphic pictures

Pictures have a power that words simply cannot match. That became evident in the tragic death of Emmett Louis Till, a 14-year-old Chicago teen who was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955. Till was in the Mississippi town of Money visiting his uncle. Out with friends one afternoon, he did the same dumb thing many teenage boys will do; he whistled at a pretty girl. The problem was Till was black, and the woman he whistled at, Carolyn Bryant, was white. Foolish for the fifties While in any time period it’s crude to wolf whistle when an attractive woman goes by, in 1955 it was just plain crazy for a young black teen to whistle at a pretty white woman. No one seems quite sure why Till did it. Mississippi was a difficult place to be black, and Carolyn Bryant’s husband and brother-in-law were livid when they heard what Till had done. According to a cousin, "They said they were just going to whip him." Sadly, Till soon encountered the vicious realities of racism in 1955. He was kidnapped from his bed at his uncle’s house on August 28, beaten, and shot in the head. His body was then tied to a heavy metal fan with barbed wire and thrown into the nearby Tallahatchie River. Some fishermen found his battered corpse in the river three days later. The husband and brother-in-law were tried for the murder but acquitted. In a 1956 interview with Look magazine, the two admitted to the murders. Though they had confessed, no further legal action was taken against the men since under American law you cannot be tried twice for the same crime. To anyone who knows about the American South in the ‘40s and ‘50s, this story is hardly surprising. It seems that there are many stories of blacks who were lynched, driven out of town, or otherwise put out of the way. The whites accused of the crime, generally speaking, received little or no punishment. The story of Emmett Louis Till is neither unusual nor surprising. Open casket One thing about the story is different. Till’s mother held the teen’s funeral in Chicago, and it was an open casket funeral. No mortician, no funeral director, no matter how skilled, can fully hide the effects of being beaten, shot in the head, and left in the river for days. Reporters were present at the funeral and took pictures. The stomach-churning photos were duly published in Chicago, and picked up by papers around the world. Though anyone living in 1955 who was familiar with the American South would have heard of stories of the brutal murder of blacks, few would have seen the pictures. It is easy to ignore it when someone writes about the suffering of people in a distant county or state. It is much harder to ignore it – to let it just go away – when you see pictures of one of the victims. When you can see the bruises from the beating, the wounds where the bullet would have entered and exited the head, and marks that the barbed wire would have left around Till’s neck, then violence against blacks becomes very, very hard to forget. The start of something big The murder of Emmett Louis Till is credited by many with waking up Americans to the extent of the problem of racism. According to U.S. Assistant Attorney General Alexander Acosta, Till’s death “stands at the crossroads of the American civil rights movement.” On December 1, 1955, only three months after Till’s body was found, Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man and was thrown off the bus. This triggered the Montgomery bus boycott, and because they couldn’t ignore the problem any longer there were whites willing to support the fight for equal treatment of blacks. When Martin Luther King went from playing a support role in the bus boycott, to leading a nation wide movement for racial equality, there were whites working with blacks to change their nation. The problem could no longer be ignored. The murder of young Emmett Louis Till was not at all unusual for the time. Newspapers had run countless stories with thousands of words detailing the treatment of blacks. The murder of one more teenage black was not at all surprising. What was surprising were the pictures of his battered body. They were gut-wrenching photos that could not be forgotten or ignored. They had an impact that mere words simply could not. Sometime a picture really is worth a thousand words. We haven't shared the graphic pictures of Emmett Till because we understand it is quite possible younger children may be viewing this over their parents' shoulders. Instead we've included a link to one of the photos, as it was placed in the Chicago Defender, here. This article first appeared in the June 2004 edition of Reformed Perspective....

News

University demands trigger warnings for pro-life display. But why?

“The event conducted just beyond this sign may contain triggering and/or sensitive material. Right to life and or Pro-life messages and imagery are some of the topics included within this event. If you feel triggered, please know that there are resources to support you…” Welcome to the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV)’s Student Union Building. The above excerpt is the exact wording of signs that were taped to doors and walls near our “Value of Life art display” this February. How did it come to this? Some context is required. Several years ago, some Reformed students began a pro-life club called “UFV Life Link” at the UFV in Abbotsford, BC. It has had between two and two dozen members of diverse backgrounds, with current membership sitting at around a dozen. Our club goals are to initiate discussion, increase awareness, and facilitate learning about life issues. Last year, we planted 10,000 pink and blue flags on the campus green, representing the 100,000 abortions that happen every year in Canada. The event was successful, yet controversial: virtually everyone on campus saw the display, some asked questions, protestors were respectful and we garnered coverage (albeit critical) in the school paper. However, some students were vehemently upset that we had been allowed to have such a provocative display in the center of the campus. They used words like “triggering,” “offensive,” and “upsetting.” Fast forward one year and the university did not want a repeat. Apparently, bad press and student outrage unnerved the administration enough to drive them to seriously limit the scope of Life Link’s outreach. When Life Link proposed an art display, the university immediately demanded it be set up behind closed doors with “trigger warnings” at the entrance. We obliged – an art display behind closed doors is better than no art display at all, and we recognized that images can have an immense impact upon students, regardless of the university’s attempts to censor their viewing. We didn’t see the trigger warnings until the day of the display and when we did we were staggered – both by the number of them and by their pernicious tone. Though the display itself was limited to an unimposing corner of the Student Union Building, all the entrances had warnings posted. Look at the pieces of art for yourself - you can see three examples with this post. There was nothing graphic. Meanwhile, this past September the university allowed a display about the persecution the Falun Gong face in China that had images of torture and organ harvesting. It was held with open doors and no trigger warnings. This is not simply a debate over free speech (though it is that too). Rather, it is a debate about whether we are going to protect the basic rights of the weakest members of our society. If abortion is not ending a human life, there is no debate, and we would have no reason to stop abortions. However, there is truth in the pro-life message, and deep down, the other side knows it. That’s why they want the discussion far away from them; they don’t want to stumble upon it, or entertain discussion. The truth upsets them, and it does so because... confronting your own sins is always painful ordeal. To acknowledge your own support for a decades long crime as brutal as the mass killing of the most vulnerable would be unbearable. That's why they want to hide the truth away. We need to have this debate, but we can’t be consumed by hatred or frustration in propelling our message. We need to speak the truth in love and in a respectful manner. There are many people who suffer because of abortion, both distant and close to home. We often don’t know the context or the circumstances, and can therefore only endeavor to show the humanity of the unborn and to implore those who oppose us to delve deeper. As Christians, we cannot stop striving to initiate discussion – this debate is best done one-on-one in conversation, and there are countless resources to aid you in the discussion. Let’s shape our culture positively. Let’s not stay silent....

Pro-life - Abortion

People with Down Syndrome in “civilized” Denmark almost all exterminated

Here’s one of those moral dilemmas. There are three people in a room. They all have the same medical condition and are in fact the last people alive who have it. It is by no means life-threatening, nor is it contagious, and its main symptoms are physical growth delays and varying degrees of intellectual disability. There is, however, currently no cure for it. Someone enters the room and tells you that they have found a cure, which they are going to give you. They hand you a gun. All you have to do, they tell you, is pull the trigger three times and you will have completely eradicated the condition from planet Earth. What would you do? Not hard, is it? Yet imagine someone carrying out the killing and then triumphantly proclaiming that they had indeed eradicated the condition. You’d be appalled at the Hitlerian cruelty. Appalled at the callous disregard for a fellow creature made in the Imago Dei. But perhaps even more than that, you’d surely be sick to the stomach to hear them acting like they had found a cure, rather than having simply killed three human beings to achieve their ends. You don’t cure disease by killing people, do you? Apparently you do. A few years back Iceland became the first “civilized Western” country to become a Down Syndrome-free zone, and Denmark is close to becoming the second. Back in 2015, CPH Post (formerly The Copenhagen Post), Denmark’s only English-language newspaper, ran a piece with the headline: “Down Syndrome heading for extinction in Denmark.” This must rank as one of the most misleading headlines in history. If you didn’t know better, you’d think that Denmark’s doctors had found a cure for Down Syndrome. Except they haven’t. What they have in fact done is not made Down Syndrome almost extinct, but rather people with Down Syndrome. The headline should have read: “People with Down Syndrome heading for extinction in Denmark.” Or more accurate still: "People with Down Syndrome heading for extermination in Denmark." Doesn’t sound quite as medical, does it, unless you mean in the Josef Mengele sense of the word! Yet this drive to eradicate Down Syndrome by eradicating people with Down Syndrome is apparently going down rather well in Denmark. According to the article, 98% of pregnant women who were revealed to be carrying an unborn child with Down Syndrome had him or her aborted, and 60% of Danes see it as a “positive development” that there are considerably fewer Down Syndrome children being born. Positive development? Ridding Denmark of Down Syndrome by curing it might be considered a positive development. But ridding Denmark of Down Syndrome by killing those with the condition? That’s a positive development??? Here’s what Britain’s biggest funder of abortions, the NHS, says about people with Down Syndrome: “People with Down syndrome can have a good quality of life. With support from their family and others, many people are able to get jobs and live fairly independently.” So 60% of Danes believe that the eradication from their country of “people who can have a good quality of life…can get jobs and live fairly independently” by killing them is a good thing? Have they ever seen the joy Down Syndrome people bring to those around them? Do they care? Have they any heart? Not so long ago, Down Syndrome could not be detected in the womb. Now that it can, 98% of Down Syndrome children are aborted in Denmark, over 90% in Britain, and – most shockingly – every single Down Syndrome child in Iceland. The real test of the character of any civilization is how it treats its weakest and most helpless members. If it loves them and seeks to help them, it should be praised. If it seeks cures to treat their conditions, great. But if it seeks to extinguish the people who have the condition from its midst, and then pats itself on the back at having eradicated the condition, what grounds do we have for calling it civilized? Rob Slane is the author of “A Christian & an Unbeliever Discuss: Life, the Universe & Everything” which is available at Amazon.ca here and Amazon.com here. He lives in Wiltshire, and definitely not Wales....

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